Study: Chronic pain patients & doctors report medical cannabis is effective

This study included 187 chronic pain patients from three pain clinics in Germany who had received at least one prescription of medical cannabis in the past. It was published in January 2023 in the German language journal Der Schmerz.

Patients and their doctors were surveyed separately between January 1 to December 31, 2021. 

Over 88% of patients reported that their condition improved "moderately" to "very much". Over 96% of patients reported their condition was at least slightly improved. 2 of the 187 patients reported a moderate deterioration of their overall well being. Almost 3% reported no change in their condition.

Doctors reported that they observed substantial pain relief in over 60% and improved sleep in almost two-thirds of their patients. They additionally reported that over 60% of their patients completely stopped taking other pharmaceutical drugs, including opioids and antidepressants.

This study reinforces the conclusion of many other studies on cannabinoid medicine's effectiveness: it works for the majority of chronic pain patients, but not for all.

Patients' responses:

44.9% of patients reported to be much or very much [improved overall]

43.3% to be moderately [improved overall]

8.0% to be slightly improved overall

2.7% reported no change

1.1% a moderate deterioration of overall well-being


Doctors' responses:

Physicians noted substantial pain relief in 60.7%

improvement of sleep in 65.7% and of mental well-being in 34.3%.

A complete cessation of opioids was achieved in 64.7%, of anticonvulsants in 57.9% and of antidepressants in 60% of patients that had received these medications before the start of CbM therapy


The authors' conclusions about medical cannabis for chronic pain:

can contribute to a clinically relevant reduction in pain, sleep problems and muscle tension

can improve daily functioning in carefully selected and supervised patients with chronic pain

can contribute to the reduction or complete cessation of other pain medications (antidepressants, anticonvulsants, opioids)


The abstract is here at PubMed Central.